I’m trying to exist in the tension right now. The tension that whirs and knots in the mind and body when you realize that everything is heinously bad and so beautifully good at the same time. How am I even managing to vacillate between the two? I’m not even vacillating; each moment I’m pulling ragged breaths of heartache and joy, disappointment and hopefulness.

Right now the awful parts. The guy that hurt my daughter is most likely not going to jail. When we left court just over a week ago we thought he was about to be arrested on a separate indictment in another case (a case that involved grabbing a different girl by the throat, threatening her with a knife, and forcibly detaining her). As we were exiting from our hearing the deputy had this young man in a chair and was calling about a warrant. For some reason the warrant didn’t come through and he left without being arrested. Then we found out my daughter’s phone was processed and there wasn’t enough evidence for a warrant. We’re still keeping the GoFundMe up until we hit our goal because we’ll probably end up back in court with this guy at some point and I want to know that we can retain an attorney. As of today we still have no legal resolution and it hurts.

Now we try to heal and move forward. One day this guy will go to jail. He is 19 and has already hurt multiple young women. I pray he goes to jail before he kills someone.

Here comes all the hard work of moving on, of surviving. Therapy, yes, but more than that. She has school assignments, chores, and a job. I cannot pour all of my time into her because I have a job and two other children. We do our best and that’s what we’ll keep doing.

What’s strange is how I can feel such opposite emotions at the same time. I’m sitting in this tension between the discomfort of fear and worry while I also sit in the comfort of love and warmth.

The tension between competing emotions is what has been so hard about continuing to blog or talk about my life. I’m not even sure if I’m wording it correctly now. There has been countless joy and comfort in the past few weeks that has been a companion to the pain. I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with Hope on Saturday. There have been big mugs of coffee and cozy mornings under piles of blankets. Atticus has requested “Jingle Bell Rock” on repeat because it “puts the spirit of Christmas in my heart, mama.” Tonight I came home from work and Sam put out Christmas lights and tomorrow we’ll decorate the tree and drink cocoa. There are all the books I plan on reading, and the softness of yarn, and my cat purring. I got into grad school and I’ve started a social justice book club. Life is moving, growing, changing and endlessly messy.

I feel disgustingly privileged and vapid given the current political climate, but I’m focusing on kindness and warmth this season. I’m not avoiding the task of advocating for political change; I’m involved politically and in social justice causes, but we have to remember why we want to change the world. If I teach my children to value kindness, to be mindful of their surroundings, and to look for the light, then I feel like I am truly working to change the world. I want my kids to be the comfort and change in times of conflict.

Now, for some of the good:









  1. Well said. There is a tension in the world right now that has taken people by surprise, and I see all of my friends struggling to understand, accept and/or fight it. There are no easy answers, but what we teach our kids as we struggle will be the most important actions we take. Your awareness and conscientiousness speak volumes for all of us. Hang in there, Amanda. We are on your side.

  2. I love that Murakami quote. I am never sure when the storm is over. I think we can only see that in retrospect. It makes me also think of that Cheryl Strayed quote from Dear Sugar when she is asked how on Earth do people make it through the hardest times. — “You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”

    I’m so ready (as are you, I’m sure) to be leaning my head back on a bench in the sun. One day you’ll get there. ❤

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